Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cafe Royale (Farmingdale, NY)

Quality of dances (8/20) – I was happy with the one-way contact, complete with some skillful knee grinding, but disappointed that I got the feeling the action ended there. With a club full of Russians (see Variety/Diversity below), my expectations are always sky high, and it’s crushing when they fall short. These girls were handcuffed by the dance setup, for sure, so who knows what tricks they might pull with more privacy; it may be worth giving the back room a shot, but until I see it, I just can’t believe it.

Quality of dancers (4/10) – I love Long Island girls, so I was really disappointed at the lack of homegrown talent. When I’m on Strong Isle, I expect the girls to look like tanner, sluttier versions of Katy Perry or thicker versions of Drea de Matteo. If they didn’t spend ninety minutes putting on makeup before they left their house that morning, I’m just not interested. These women, while not unattractive, weren’t really making it happen.

Number of dancers (4/10) – No matter what the club size, no matter what the club location, half a dozen dancers on a Saturday night is not acceptable. I demand more.

Variety/Diversity of dancers (3/5) – This category is a little tricky to rate for Café Royale. At first glance, there appeared to be significant diversity: a black girl, a Filipino-looking girl, and a few white girls with varying skin tones. So far, so good, until I started talking to them and found out that, with the exception of the black girl, every one of them was Russian, even the faux Filipino. And so were both bartenders. I half-expected to open the wrong door and see a bunch of bears riding unicycles or Teddy KGB chewing on Oreos. I think we’ve all heard stories about the Russian mob importing strippers to work in New York, so maybe that’s what’s going on here. Or maybe Farmingdale just reminds these girls of the Motherland. Who knows.

Body type diversity was definitely lacking. I didn’t see a single lap dance ass when I was there. Having spent tons of time on Long Island, I know there are plenty of such asses available, so it was a letdown that they didn’t find their way to the club.

Attitude of Dancers (3.5/10) – Nothing really significant to report here. The shortage of dancers made it a little difficult to get anyone’s attention. When they did come around, they were friendly enough, but with a business-like vibe. I definitely wouldn’t describe them as particularly outgoing or fun. Nor would I say they are the ice-cold hustlers that you often encounter working a floor.

Value (5/10) – I have to be honest: I was really drunk when I got to this place, so I don’t remember what the cover was. I was traveling with a cheap dude who doesn’t really like strip clubs, so I’m sure it was $5 or less on a Saturday night, because he wouldn’t have paid it otherwise. As for the cost of drinks, I can’t give a definite answer there either, seeing as I signed the tab without looking at individual drink prices and then proceeded to leave both my ID and credit card at the club. However, some research on their website indicates that drink prices are relatively inexpensive ($3 domestics during all football games, $5 for any drink during Happy Hour). That leads me to think that Miller Lites were something in the range of $5 on my random Saturday night, which is passable. At $20, dances provide standard value. Stage value was basically non-existent (see Club Setup below).

Dance Setup (1/10) – Tremendous fail here by Café Royale. Standard dances occur in a slightly-raised part of the club, maybe 15 feet back from the bar, which is filled with rolly chairs, tables and a few benches. The tables and chairs are obviously for hanging out, and it seems that the benches are the prime dancing spot when this particular area is packed. Whether your dance occurs in a rolly chair or on a bench, privacy is impossible, with nearly the entire club having an unobstructed sight line to your spot.

Club Setup (3.5/10) – Very standard blah setup here. A horseshoe-shaped bar sits in the middle of the club, lined with a few dozen chairs. On each side of the bar are raised areas that are filled with a small handful of tables surrounded by rolly chairs (talked about in Dance Setup). All those things are well and good, and though not incredible, those parts of the setup aren’t dreadful either. However, the stage location is just brutal. It sits inside the bar (like Mons Venus in Tampa or the Playground Lounge in Atlantic City), making any close interaction with dancers impossible. Over the years, strip club patrons have developed a perfect system for getting a dancer’s attention for some personal stage action. Step 1: Sit at the stage. Step 2: Fold a dollar bill (or two or three) in half and place it on the edge of the stage. Step 3: Wait for tits and ass to come your way. It’s simple, it’s elegant, it’s ideal. But with an internal stage, it can’t happen. The five foot separation created by the bar makes any sort of interaction weird and awkward. Dancers have a hard time targeting any specific moves. And tipping requires both the tipper and the dancer to lean way over and reach out their arms to exchange any cash (it resembles the scene at a drive-through when you accidentally pull up too far from the window). Not acceptable.

Club Atmosphere (5.5/10) – I was happy with the music and the general vibe, especially for Long Island. I half-expected to hear only house music and Billy Joel for the entire night, but the DJ played it relatively safe and stuck mostly to the classics. If I remember correctly, the lighting definitely could have been lower, but it wasn’t anything particularly uncomfortable. Really, this is the type of place that has a neutral-enough feel that your individual group can make the atmosphere whatever you want it to be (whether you’re just grabbing a few beers or really getting after it). My only complaint is the modified tip-walk that girls do on stage. It’s always a buzzkill to be sitting at the bar trying to enjoy a beer or watch a game, only to have a dancer drop the “Pssst, aren’t you gonna tip me?” I don’t blame the dancers; the internal stage setup basically forces them to do this shit, but it still sucks.

Club Accessibility (1.5/5) – On the one hand, Club Royale is directly off of Route 109 and just a stone’s throw from the Southern State Parkway. On the other, it’s in fucking Farmingdale, smack in the middle of Long Island, and totally inaccessible by any means other than a car (or a wedding transportation bus that you make pull over on the side of the road and drop you off on your way back to the hotel).

Overall – In many ways, this club is a Long Islander’s dream. You can buy some unnecessary shit at Walmart, catch a movie at the Regal 10, eat some overpriced babyback ribs at Chili’s, fist-pump at some douchey club called The Crazy Donkey (which I was really hoping was a Tijuana-style strip club), then see some titties, all without driving your Camaro more than half a mile. However, for those of you who don’t love strip malls and jagerbombs, Café Royale is mediocre at best.


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